Ignite, p.5
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       Ignite, p.5

           Jamie Campbell
 
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“Found?” I gasped, barely believing it. “Is he…?” My mouth wouldn’t let me say alive.

  “I don’t know,” Lola replied. She was internally preparing herself for the worst news, as was I. I couldn’t imagine how bad it would be if the news came out that Heath was no longer among the living.

  The wait for an update was torturous. In the end, we didn’t get any at all. A group of police officers emerged from the main trail, in the middle of them was someone smaller – Heath.

  Seeing him alive and walking by himself flooded me with relief. He was alright, besides a few scratches and obvious fatigue.

  We were directed to go back to our cabins and have free time until the next meal. Most of the campers did as told, the relief evident on everyone’s face. The few who remained were mainly Heath’s friends. I noticed Lochie lingering too, although why, I had no idea.

  I went to stand next to Bailey as they gathered around Heath. He was sitting with two police officers as a counselor plied him with water and a sandwich.

  He was giving a statement to the police as they took copious notes. His voice was weary, every word long and drawn out. “There were two of them, they were creeping about and looking in the cabin windows.”

  “What did they look like?” The officer, a tall, serious man of about forty, asked.

  “One had blonde hair, the other’s was darker. They were probably about your height.”

  “What were they wearing?”

  “Jeans, a shirt, I don’t know. I wasn’t exactly in fashion police mode.”

  The police officer placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. “It’s okay, take your time. Just tell us what happened then. You saw the two men and then what?”

  Heath took a gulp of water before replying. “I snuck out of my cabin and started following them. I wanted to see what they were up to.”

  “You should have notified one of us,” the counselor interrupted, earning a reproachful look from the police. “Sorry.”

  “Go on, Heath.”

  “They went from cabin to cabin and then started walking into the woods. I was worried they might be planning on doing something so I followed them.”

  “What were you thinking?” The counselor butted in again.

  He was grating on everyone’s last nerve. Heath included. “I didn’t think anyone would believe me if I said anything. I only planned on seeing what they were up to. Then I was going to come back and report them once I knew more.”

  The police officer took control again. “So you followed them…”

  Heath nodded. “I followed them for ages. I was doing a good job of it too, until I accidently stepped on a stick and it cracked. They saw me and realized what I was doing.”

  “What did you do?” Bailey asked, unable to hold back. I knew how he felt. I had a million questions burning away on the end of my tongue.

  “I ran like hell.” He managed a small smile. “They chased me too. I thought I was dead. They didn’t seem like the kind of guys who would play around. I ended up finding a cave-like thing and hid.”

  “That sounds horrible,” Ella moaned. I didn’t even hear her join us.

  “I must have fallen asleep sometime, when I woke up it was daylight and I had no idea where I was. I started walking but I didn’t even know what direction I should go in,” Heath finished explaining. “I’d been walking forever before I saw these guys.” He nodded toward the police. “I didn’t think I’d ever get out of those woods.”

  “We’re so glad you did,” Ella said before bursting over to him and wrapping him in her arms. Heath was a bit bemused but he didn’t push her away. She let him go reluctantly and stepped aside again.

  “Is there anything you can remember about the men when you followed them? Did they say where they were going or what they were doing?” The police officer asked, tapping his pencil on his notepad.

  Heath paused to think it through, dredging through his memory and trying to find anything useful. “They were talking about a girl they had to find. She was different, she had a mark on her. They were complaining about how difficult it was to see it in the dark. They were going to get more people to come and help look for her.”

  My heart stopped. A wave of nausea rushed over me, making me want to vomit. I stepped back from the group, not needing to hear anything more.

  The men were there for me. I knew it without a doubt. How many normal teenagers had a mark on their skin that would make someone want to kidnap them? I was the only one, they had to be there for me.

  I ran to my cabin, fighting back the tears. It was so stupid of me to think I could have a normal summer like everyone else. I was different, I was reminded of that every single day of my life. I had no business trying to fit in and pretend I was human like all the others. I was there for a reason, I had a job to do, I had no business having a carefree summer.

  When I reached the cabin, I was relieved to find it empty. There was no way I could explain my sudden hysteria to any of my friends. Especially not Lola, she could always see right through my lies. If she knew the truth, she would freak out and we wouldn’t be friends anymore. I couldn’t have that.

  I called my parents and asked them to pick me up as quickly as possible. They readily agreed without any argument. They were probably already walking out the door by the time we ended the conversation. I should have listened to them in the first place, at least then Heath wouldn’t have gone through his ordeal.

  I had put the entire camp at risk by being there. I felt sick to my stomach at what could have happened. I wasn’t worried about my own fate, but of those around me. I could never live with myself if my presence hurt others and that was exactly what might have happened. It already did happen to Heath. If those men had caught him… I couldn’t finish the thought.

  I pulled my bag out from under the bed and started throwing my clothes in it haphazardly. It had taken me three hours to pack before coming to camp but a whole three minutes to pack to go home. I didn’t care about wrinkles and creases this time. I just needed to get out of there so the camp would be safe again.

  “What are you doing?” The voice startled me. My eyes flicked up to see Lochie standing in the doorway. He was the last person I needed to see.

  “Packing, I’m going home.”

  “You can’t, we’ve only been here a few days.”

  I sighed, too defeated already for an argument. “Do I need to remind you that you’re not the boss of me? Your opinion is hardly high on my priority list.”

  He pretended to be injured by an arrow to his heart. “Oh, burn.”

  I gathered my toiletries from the sink and threw them in my bag, refusing to look at him. “Wait until I get a real arrow. That will burn.”

  Lochie took a few steps to cross the area between us. In the tiny cabin, he felt far too close for comfort. I didn’t take a step back though, for some reason I couldn’t explain.

  “I think you should stay. I know what happened to Heath was scary, but it won’t happen again. They’ll step up security, they’ll protect us.”

  There were so many things he didn’t know and wouldn’t know for a very long time. He needed all that information to understand why I couldn’t stay. Instead of telling the truth, I had to lie – yet again. “My parents are really strict, they’re not letting me stay any longer. They didn’t want me to come in the first place.”

  “I’m glad you came.”

  My eyes roamed upward to lock with his. Damn he had the most beautifully intense blue eyes I had ever seen. It was a pity they usually only burned with hatred for me.

  I looked away, unable to hold the gaze any longer. I finally took the step backward so the warmth of his body wasn’t interfering with my resolve. “That doesn’t change the fact I have to go.”

  “Can I say anything to convince you otherwise?”

  “No,” I replied simply because I knew there was nothing he could do to make the camp safe for me. And as long as I was there, everyone else was in danger too, including him.
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br />   I zipped my bag closed and pushed it to the floor where it landed with a decided thud. Lochie stepped back so I could get around him to the door. It was going to be another few hours before my parents arrived but I didn’t want to stick around and have to explain myself to my cabin mates.

  “Let me help you,” Lochie offered as he took the handle of my bag from me.

  Fine, he could be all chivalrous, it wasn’t going to change anything. By the time the summer ended and we were back at school, he would be the exact same annoying Lochie I always knew and loathed.

  I led him to the front gates of the camp where I perched on a fallen log. “Thank you.”

  He dropped the bag at my feet. “No problem.” He sat on the log beside me.

  “You can go, you don’t have to stay with me.”

  Lochie shrugged. “I’ve got nothing better to do.”

  “Gee, you make me feel so special,” I replied sarcastically.

  “Really? I didn’t intend to.” He matched my sarcasm word for word. Apparently it wouldn’t take a whole summer for the normal Lochie to return. About two minutes had done it.

  “Are you going to keep this up until my parents arrive?”

  “Probably.”

  I rolled my eyes and turned away before he could see the smile spread across my lips.

  Continue the story with:

  UNITE

  Out Now

  Turn over for a sneak peak of the first chapter.

  CHAPTER 1

 
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